As I wrote before, Mister Miracle has always been the Kirby creation that I have loved through and through. His escape routine and relationship with Big Barda have always been inspirational to me. So leave it to Tom King (Vision) and Mitch Gerads (Punisher) to take this character I’ve always idealized as a superhero and reduce him to basic humanity, struggling with depression.
I will admit, on paper this sounds like a real bummer. Mister Miracle depressed and dealing with suicide? In most cases, I’m not really onboard with it but King and Gerads tell the story with such care and detail that I couldn’t help but become engrossed with the material.
Scott Free is an idealist raised in a living hell by a stepfather that was literally evil incarnate. He’s always been depicted as rising above that but man, you’d have some serious baggage. This issue opens up with the eye-catching image that Scott has tried to kill himself. From there you feel like you are in the same perpetual haze that Scott is living in. Something feels off; both Scott and the reader are the only ones who seem to notice this. Darkseid is looming in every page with the word “DARKSEID IS” appearing multiple times throughout the issue. We aren’t sure if this really is reality or some sort of anti-life prison Darkseid has made for his stepson. All I know is Scott is going to escape it and it will be a hell of a ride.
Mitch Gerads provides the best art I’ve ever seen him produce. He switches between multiple styles with what seems like zero effort. Since King isn’t afraid of the quiet moments, Gerads has to do a lot of the work and he doesn’t fail once. The look of what appears to be a bizarro Glorious Godfrey late night talk show is one of the most haunting sequences to me. As Scott lies, the panels mimic TV static and distort Scott’s face in the creepiest ways possible. I couldn’t get enough of it.
This comic provided exactly what I wanted: a fresh and bold new direction on Mister Miracle. It’s a giant puzzle that we get to figure out with Scott and I can already tell the next 11 issues are just going to be a doozy.